Luckily for them, last week’s premiere episode of David Goyer’s Da Vinci’s Demons pulled in record numbers for the network (2.14 million viewers over the course of the premiere weekend), prompting the cable network to renew the series for a season 2.
Loosely based on the life of famed inventor Leonardo Da Vinci, the fantasy/historical drama should return to Wales to film the BBC Worldwide co-production in May, with season 2 slated to air in 2014. Considering only the premiere episode has aired so far, we still have nearly all of season 1 to decide if this renewal is a good or bad decision.
Da Vinci’s Demons is actually the latest show to get the rapid renewal treatment from Starz, with both Boss and Magic City receiving the word that they would outlast their first season before they debuted – a commitment that is in lock-step with the network’s “pilot process,” according to Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, who spoke with THR back in January:
“We’re already writing a lot of the stuff for season two. If you want to be on a 12-month cycle, you have to keep going; these shows are too hard and too big to wait and do a traditional broadcast network model. There’s a reason why broadcast network shows are broadcast network shows – because they stay on that model. The reason why premium television are the basic tier channels doing the good stuff, they have a little bit of a different formula.
“I look at the Starz pilot process as one or two seasons and we take it from there, although if we start to apply a lot more of our own cash flow to originals, then maybe we’ll do some pilots. There are some shows that would sure benefit from doing the pilots; there are pilots for a reason.”
While some of the behind the scenes legwork for season 2 of Da Vinci’s Demons may have already begun, much more likely remains. To help with the writing, Goyer is bringing on comic book scribes Jonathan Hickman (The Avengers, The Manhattan Projects) and Matt Fraction (Fantastic Four, Hawkeye) for two episodes. Incidentally, in 2010, Hickman wrote the Marvel book S.H.I.E.L.D., which was about the “secret history” of both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Leonardo da Vinci.
Here’s Goyer – who has his own experience with comic book characters from his work on Blade, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and Man of Steel - on bringing Hickman and Fraction onboard:
“One of the best parts of this job is that you occasionally get to call up people you admire out of the blue and ask them if they want to play in your sandbox. Sometimes, they say ‘yes’. So… I managed to convince Starz and the powers that be to hire Matt and Jonathan on to write two episodes of season 2 with our trusty staff. In case you don’t know who Hickman and Fraction are – they are comic gods in the indie and Marvel world.”
Da Vinci’s Demons will mark the TV writing debut for both Hickman and Fraction, but to a degree, writing is writing and other comic writers like Geoff Johns (Arrow) and Brian K. Vaughan (Lost, Under the Dome) have nailed the transition.
Besides that, both The Manhattan Projects and Hawkeye just nabbed Eisner Award nominations for Best Continuing Comic Series, so it’s clear that Goyer is reaching for the best when it comes to his staff – and that’s a good thing.
Da Vinci’s Demons airs on Fridays @9PM on Starz.